A businessman and former election candidate, described in court as a “conspiracy theorist”, had a seven week jail sentence suspended after he agreed to pay €500 to the Garda social club.
Donie Kenny (46 ), Clonbonny, Athlone had pleaded not guilty to the charge of abusing gardaí on Church Street in the early hours of June 19, but was found guilty this week (March 28 ) after a 90-minute hearing.
Kenny claimed in court he had been stabbed in the back by females unknown outside Coppers in Custume Place that night, that he then got into a taxi there, but was asked to vacate it by the driver after said females got into it and claimed it was theirs.
Kenny than said that the gardaí who attended this said his best course of action would be “to f**k off home”, and that when he tried to remonstrate with them later in Church Street he was unfairly arrested.
This case had been initially listed for October 12, but Kenny dismissed his solicitor, and demanded access to the CCTV footage of the initial incident, claiming it was relevant to the subsequent arrest, and that “the CCTV footage may have been tampered with”.
Gardaí counter-claimed this was “irrelevant” because there had been no formal complaints or statements made from that incident and it was regarded as closed.
Judge Seamus Hughes gave Kenny full benefit, and adjourned the case until November 23, and then January 4 to allow his new legal team all available access, before hearing the case this week.
In court Garda Tom Neary explained he had been driving the patrol car on Church Street that night with Gardaí Lynskey and Divilly when they found the defendant standing in the middle of the road shouting “p**cks”.
“I had my window open, judge. Mr Kenny approached the car, with a mobile phone in his hand. He stuck the phone in the window and said ‘This is my wife and she’s going to come and f**king kill you’,” said Garda Neary.
He explained how Kenny had been “very intoxicated”, and when arrested had called the gardaí “p**cks” in the rear of the car.
Garda John Divilly corroborated this evidence, and Inspector Nicholas Farrell did not feel the need to call Garda Lynskey.
In his own evidence Kenny said he’d only had four pints that night before the incident at the taxi, which the judge ruled irrelevent to the arrest half an hour later on account of there was no formal complaint made in relation to it.
Mr Kenny said he felt the gardaí “had familiarisation with these people and chose to operate to my detriment”.
“That’s how the law works,” he said.
He also argued the use of the word “pr**ks” had been used by the gardaí as an “impact word to make me look dirty”.
However, the judge said he found it hard to believe that Gardaí “could afford the luxury of losing 20 per cent of its resources at a critical time on a Saturday night” to deal with something as harmless as Kenny was alleging.
“To suggest gardaí are coming in here lying and conspiring away is really trying the patience of this court,” said Judge Hughes, adding that: “The gardaí were a lot more credible on the evidence than this conspiracy theorist sitting in the box”.
He sentenced Kenny to seven weeks in jail, but suspended it for two years after Kenny made the €500 donation to the social club.
Kenny, a garage owner for 25 years, stood as a non-party candidate in the Athlone Town Council election in June 2009, coming third last out of 17 candidates with 120 first preference votes.